You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Jan 25, 2012 : 10:52 a.m.

Downtown Ann Arbor restaurant group CEO appointed to U.S. tourism board

By Lizzy Alfs

President Barack Obama recently appointed Michael Gibbons, the president and CEO of Ann Arbor-based Mainstreet Ventures, to the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board.

The board consists of up to 32 members that advise the Secretary of Commerce on policies and programs that affect the travel and tourism industry.

Gibbons, along with Dennis Serras and Dieter Boehm, founded Mainstreet Ventures in 1981 in Ann Arbor. The group operates The Real Seafood Company, Gratzi, Palio, Carson's American Bistro, The Chop House and La Dolce Vita, along with restaurants in four other states.

The group’s mission: “To consistently exceed guest expectations by providing memorable dining experiences in creative and distinctive restaurants,” according to its website.

Gibbons was also the chairman of the National Restaurant Association in 2009 to 2010, the former president of the Michigan Restaurant Association and a long-time member of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s Board of Trustees, according to a news release.

As a member of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, Gibbons will have a focus on increasing hotel occupancies nationwide.

"Filling hotel rooms ... helps the entire tourism and hospitality industry," Gibbons said in a statement. "When hotels are busy, they hire staff; same with restaurants, theaters, retailers, etc. Job growth will help the economy and reduce the government's debt through increased revenue."

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at


Lets Get Real

Thu, Jan 26, 2012 : 4:06 p.m.

Kissy, kissy. Just a reminder Main Street Ventures Successful Businessmen - a title is a name only, just words. What he really wants is your money: in campaign funds and in higher taxes to reward you for all your success. Don't be deceived by the smoke and mirrors.